Sheila from The Failte House: Living on Purpose

Friday, February 27, 2015

Happy Friday!  I hope each of you have enjoyed these posts and this series as much as I have.  These women are real and honest and their hearts are pure.  I love reading the different ways each person chooses to live on purpose.  Well, we are wrapping up the series soon.  We've got two more posts for next week, one being mine!  But today we have a special treat - the lovely Sheila from The Failte House Blog and Sheila Sheridan Photography.  Sheila is someone who inspires my core.  Every time we catch up she asks real, bold questions.  I love that in a person.  She is someone who chooses to live her life for Jesus on purpose and she does so fearlessly (or at least it seems that way:)!).  I'll let her do the rest of the talking today I suppose...


When sweet Denise asked me to write a post on how I plan to Live on Purpose this year, I chuckled.  You see, three years ago Denise wrote a blog post about how she picks one verb each January and focuses on that word throughout the year. I was so inspired by her post, I made this part of my yearly New Year Eve rituals for the past three years.  

My first word was Gratitude – I wanted to learn to live each day with a thankful heart, focusing on the positive and learning to give thanks for the good and bad.  I also started a 1,000 Gift Gratitude Journal, a big thank you to Ann Vonskamp, and try to practice gratitude daily.  My second word was Courage – I wanted to let go of fear and learn to live life without being held back by my own worries.  I learned the best way to overcome fear is by just taking the first step.  It is amazing to see how many fears are left behind after you learn to take one small step forward.

My third, and current, word is joy.  My dream is to become a woman of joy with a content and grateful heart.  I want to wake up every day and make the decision to choose joy, even in challenging situations. And when I face conflict or trials during the day, I want to choose joy.  And when I go to bed a night, I want to look back and see how I tried to choose joy that day.  

Finding the beauty in every situation has not been the easiest, especially during this busy season of work, but I believe I am living on purpose in 2015 by continually striving to choose joy in all situations. It’s wonderful how a joyful, grateful and content heart can help you take an average day, and make it a beautiful day. 

Choose joy with me this year!

Xoxo always,

Find Sheila Here:

Sarah from Sarah Tucker Styles: Living on Purpose

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The beautiful Sarah Tucker is here today to share how she is Living on Purpose.  Sarah is the first blog I really read and followed and she was definitely the one who inspired me to get into blogging.  I admire so much about Sarah - her humble nature, her natural living tips, her mama way and her style.  I imagine if/when we meet we would sit in a coffee shop and chat for hours about being a mama and wife! And her hubby and my hubby share an alma mater, so that's fun!  She is the true definition of class and her tiny, handsome little Tuck?  I die.  So stinkin' cute.  OK I'll stop rambling and let Sarah take it away...


“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman

I quit my job last November, which was something that at times made me come alive.  But it was overwhelming me in this season of my life.  There are so many working mother's that amaze me - they do it with such grace.  I realized I wasn't one of them.  I was frazzled and struggling at balancing any of it.  So for this season, I decided to take a break.  If a break is such a thing with small children (; ... This season is short.   Just typing that makes me want to hold onto it but I know it's like sand slipping through the cracks of my hands.  Which makes me a bit weepy to be honest.   I am a mom to a just turned two year old little wild man nicknamed Tuck, and in two months I'll welcome his brother, Wesley, into this world.  Being with him day in and day out is a hard thing but the best thing for me right now.  Sometimes I am not very good at it.  I'm still his mom, his world, and so he doesn't seem to mind.  Thank God for the grace children are easy to give.  Something that worries me as I've transitioned into full time stay at home mama is that I'll lose myself.  I'll get so caught up with my children that I'll forget all of the things that made me come alive, the dreams God has placed in my heart from before I was born.  Truthfully, I've already fallen down that rabbit hole a bit!  I think that's a pool we mother's can't help but dip our toes into.  These babies, they are our world, aren't they?  So I think part of living on purpose in this season of my life is reminding myself that it is just that - a season. One of the most precious seasons of my life for sure. Which helps me to focus on it, die to myself a bit more than is comfortable, and trust that God (as always) outdoes my plans tenfold into something more beautiful than I could have dreamed up.  But I think it's still important to keep those things that make your heart sing close to you, to never lose them, sure they will evolve possibly into something better - but I want to remember them.  I want my children to see me as their mother who loves them unconditionally, but also one with purpose and passions all her own.  So what makes me come alive/ what fires me up?  Adventures.  The colors of the ocean.  being seaside.  a great conversation with a close friend.  my momma's love for her family.  marriage.  Gods Grace.  gratitude.  veggie gardens.  florals.  being outside.  porches.  walks.  children.  snuggling.  my boys!  helping others.  my family.  camera in hand.  blogging about things that matter vs just stuff.  early mornings.  good books.  good food.  organic everything.  .... And so I hope, once this season is done, and my babies are in elementary that whatever I do involves those things to some extent.  I hope I add a few more.  I know my children will teach me more than any school or any job - I just have to pay attention.  Some days I will fall short, some days it will be hard to see the beauty through the stains on my t-shirt, my ratty hair, my dark circles looking back at me in the mirror.  But I hope I look at my children with wonder and wide eyes, am grateful for this time together, give myself some Grace when I think I've fallen short and share what makes me come alive with my boys.  

Find Sarah Here:

Nicole from Simply Mama: Living on Purpose

Friday, February 20, 2015

YAY YAY YAY! Happy Friday! Today you get the pleasure of hearing from one of my sweet friends, Nicole. Nicole blogs over at Simply Mama and I love her recipe posts and following along on her journey as a mama to the most handsome Jake. Nicole and I have a blate planned this year we just haven't nailed down a date, time or place. Details! But we will. I can promise you that. Nicole was a savior in my early mama days when I would send her novels at 3 am while nursing and she would kindly respond and answer all of my mumbo jumbo questions. She's the best. So give her some love...


Hi there friends, I'm Nicole from Simply Mama!  I honestly don't know where to start on this topic of living with purpose.  It seems to have taken on a whole new meaning for me in 2015, in more ways than one.  I finally took the leap and ::gasp:: started my own photography business, a task that has been a blessing and a curse of chaos all at the same time.  I've spent years learning my camera, teaching myself little tricks and taking endless pictures, but it never quite felt right to start a business.  Or rather, I never felt quite right.  Like I wasn't good enough.   Like I was going to be diving into a pool of super creative, gifted people and just couldn't keep up.  Courage was what I  needed.  And courage was what the Lord gave me.  Endless nights of sleep, endless mornings of staring at the ceiling asking for guidance, for strength, for the ability to put away my self-doubt.  I woke up one more in January and said, today.  And that was it.  Simply You Photography was born.

And with it brings new challenges.  Challenges of balance.  Of finding the time to create my craft while still having a full-time job, a husband, an ever-needy dog and of course, a toddler!  I don't have this down.  I doubt I ever will.  The days are too short, but the trail of life is getting shorter.  So I'm teaching myself to ignore the mess.  To keep to my list of accomplishing three things a day.  Just three.  The rest can wait.  There are towers to be built.  There are airplanes to watch.  And there are moments in life when sitting on the couch next to someone you love is really what you need to be doing.

Living on purpose simply means making the choice to do what fills your stomach with that unstoppable joy.  For me that means creating moments with my camera, blowing raspberries, watching my son chase my husband around until they're both in a fit of giggles and spending every day doing something I love - whether that's my day job, my night job, my mama job or indulging a Hart of Dixie marathon.  Hey, a girl's got her guilty pleasures :)

Find Nicole Here:

We are having a baby BOY!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Last Thursday morning, Matt and I got up bright and early and headed to the doctor!  Georgia was so distracted and excited that her Nanny and Pop Pop were taking her to preschool that she had no idea what a big morning it was.  First and foremost, we are beyond grateful to say that there is a healthy baby in my belly right now!  And then the kind nurse immediately found our baby's....... MAN PARTS!  We are having a tiny, wiggle worm, cuddly, lovable baby BOY.  I'm still kind of in shock.  Matt immediately started crying, which made me tear up.  I mean a boy?!?!  We were both kind fo expecting a girl because well, that's what we know!  But to say we are excited is the understatement of the century.  So baby boy here I come.  Luckily I've got 4 nephews that have given me practice over the years but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.  Oh but I love that little man so very much already! 

So yay!  A crazy, rambunctious toddler girl and now a tiny, baby boy!  So fun.  On the name front we are still deciding... And naturally, the next day, Georgia, my mom and I ran to Target to get a blue bean bag that matches Georgia's pink one for the play room.  So like any good big sis, Gigi broke it in a little :)

Business Feature! Cara from Sugar by the Sea

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Today I am super excited to introduce you to one of my dear friends, Cara.  She recently started her business, Sugar by the Sea, a licensed in-home bakery, that produces delectable treats that almost look to gorgeous to eat!  Cara's talent is undeniable and working with her is such a pleasure.  My mom recently placed an order for Super Bowl and as always, Cara didn't disappoint.  She does everything from birthday parties and weddings to baptisms and graduation celebrations.  She is located in Leland but serves the entire surrounding area including Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.  If you are in need of a delicious treat for a special occassion or just because she's so good, she is your gal!  So here y'all go, get to know the sweet baker behind Sugar by the Sea, and check out some of her AMAZING orders from Valentine's Day!

Tell about your blog/business in a few sentences.

I am a self-taught baker and cake designer and have been baking and decorating cakes since 2007 when I decided, spontaneously, to bake and decorate a mermaid cupcake cake for my sister’s birthday. I was in college at the time getting a degree in studio art and it seemed like a good idea to experiment with cake! I am so glad that I did. I love making cakes for people to enjoy esthetically as well as tasting delicious! I love thinking about the joy people will get, not just out of the cake, but out of the event itself—whether it’s a birthday, bachelorette party, or wedding!

Where do you see yourself/your business in 5 years?

In 5 years I would love to have a cake studio space to work and meet with potential clients that is TF (toddler free!). It would be amazing to not destroy my personal kitchen every day as well! In the short-term I am working on converting a room in my house to my office/cake display room and I’m super excited to have this new creative space to plan, draw and design cakes in!

What's a personal trial you had to overcome?

A personal trial I had to overcome was really, truly believing in myself. For years people told me “You need to open a cake business!! Why haven’t you?” and I had a million and one excuses. I really started examining this this past year and wondering what I was so scared of. I finally realized I was terrified of not being “perfect”, I was so scared to make a mistake that I never even tried. It has been the most amazing thing for me to realize that we are not called to be perfect, because no one is. Everyone that is really good at something once started out as a complete beginner. I tell myself this when I get scared to try something new, which after starting this business is almost daily!

Who or what inspires you?

My inspiration for everything comes from my faith in Jesus Christ. I feel his presence and know that he gave me my passions and gifts for a reason. To live in fear of failure is, in essence, to disrespect the gifts he has given me. I trust him above all so I chase my dreams with full force, with Jesus I have nothing to fear! I want to be able to stand before God and say wholeheartedly that I have used everything he has given me to the best of my ability. How liberating it is to realize this. As a 27 year old woman I feel like I am finally starting to push fear aside and trust God.  I also get lots of inspiration from my sweet family- my daughter and husband who are everything to me! Lastly, I am so inspired in this beautiful place that I get to call home - the coast. I love everything about Coastal North Carolina. The ocean feels like a very part of me, hence my logo the mermaid (holding a yummy cupcake of course!!)  

Share one of your favorite pictures and tell why it's your favorite.

This is one of my favorite pictures. My daughter was only a week old and I was so exhausted, but so happy! Despite being the heaviest and probably sorest I’ve ever been, I felt really beautiful. My husband took the picture and it was probably about 1 in the morning; everything about this picture makes me happy because I remember the moment exactly. I was so proud of this perfect little beautiful creature! We would just stay awake staring and marveling at her (we still do this...does it ever stop?!).


Are you in love yet?  With her talent and her heart?!?!  Thank you Cara for sharing today.  Be sure and head over to Sugar by the Sea's Facebook Page and "like" it so you can see more of her amazing work and get any updates.  Also, feel free to email Cara with any questions at sugarbythesea1 [at]

Linh from A Beautiful RAWR: Living on Purpose

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Monday!  I'm excited to continue with our Living on Purpose series as I introduce a dear friend of mine, Linh, from A Beautiful RAWR.  Linh is a loving mama and wife and just launched her business, which you can check out here!  And!  And!  Lucky us!  Linh is offering all Gratefully Inspired readers 20% off with the code PURPOSE!  Code will run for a week so once you read her heartfelt words, go shop!  Before I spill all the beans I'll let her take over...


Hi, friends! My name is Linh and I own A Beautiful RAWR, a faith-based online shop catered to creating modest comfortable apparel to inspire, support, inspire, and remind every woman of this simple message:  I can do ALL things through Him who strengthens me" - Phil 4:13. RAWR stands for Real Amazing Woman Representing and we are the modern day SUPERWOMEN of society. We are the mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters of our time.  We represent love, strength, beauty, courage, faith, and grit.

2014 was a year full of highs and lows for our family.  My mother, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013, relapsed from her chemotherapy just 6 short months later and this took a heavy toll on our family. Shortly after, I quit my corporate job so I could stay home with Marli AND spend more time with my mother.  Turns out, this would be one of the BEST decisions we made!  Day in and day out, I watched as my mother battled this terrible disease and it was nothing short of amazing to see how strong she was. Her will power and faith in God never wavered.  When others crumbled around her, she reassured them (including me) that there was nothing to fear.  To this very day, she is still fighting the battle and it is truly a remarkable sight to witness the greatness of God’s miracles.

In between hospital visits, caring for Marli, and fulfilling my role as a wife, I did a LOT of praying. I prayed for strength, courage, reassurance, help, and clarity.  I asked God to show me how to be a great role model to Marli, a brave and supportive daughter to my mother, a loving wife to my husband, and above all, a PURPOSEFUL Christian woman.  I wanted to live a more meaningful life through a passionate career where I would be able to give back and make a difference in the world.  And that’s when He allowed me to chase my dreams, open my online shop, and begin living with PURPOSE.

My online shop has one goal – to create a PURPOSEFUL brand to remind amazing women that we can overcome and achieve any obstacle we encounter because we are strong and capable of so much. Whether it’s a personal goal (such as losing weight, starting a family, beating an illness) or a professional one (owning your own business, getting promoted, changing careers), I want you to know that you are A BEAUTIFUL RAWR.

***Visit THE SHOP  today and enjoy 20% off your entire order with the code ‘PURPOSE’ at checkout.  Promo will run for a week!***
A proceed of all sales are donated to LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) or Pediatric Cancer Research. (Simply notate your preference in the notes/message section at checkout.)
Sales are final and promo ends in one week.

Dream Big. Believe in Yourself. Shine Bright. Never Lose Faith. And Never Give Up. 

Thank you so much for supporting the message behind the brand.

Find Linh Here:

Blog  /  Shop  /  Instagram

happy valentines day my love!

Friday, February 13, 2015

i love this man.  a lot.  like a wholllllllllle lot.  and ya know what?  he's taking me out on the town tomorrow night for valentine's day! how did i get so lucky?  the way he loves and leads our family is humbling.  i couldn't do life without him, that's for sure.

whatever your plans,i hope you feel loved tomorrow!  xox

1st Trimester Must-Have's / 2nd Time Around!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lemon anything + Ginger Ale!  I was super nauseous and vomited a lot during this 1st trimester which was no fun.  But one thing that made it better?  Lemons!  I also had a lot of food aversions but anything with lemon in it tasted yummy.  And I could have icy cold water with lemon?  Well that'd be even better!  If water wasn't an option or I was sick of it then, like most nauseous preggies, I turned to my dear old friend Ginger Ale.

Beauty Counter Gentle Exfoliator + Nourishing Cleansing Balm. I use this stuff pregnant or not, but since becoming pregnant my face has. freaked. out.  Breakout after breakout coupled with super dry skin.  It was awful.  Well it was so bad I decided to venture away and try some stronger, but still pregnancy safe, acne medicine.  It made it worse!  So. Much. Worse.  I switched back to my Beauty Counter products and within a week, my face had calmed down, breakouts were better, dry patches were gone and redness was gone.  Y'all, I know I talk about these products a lot but it's because they are the holy grail in skin care.  They have saved my skin time and time again and after reading this article, I want to stay away from nasty, harmful chemicals as much as possible.  It is just not worth the risks!  And these products do just that.  So once again, Beauty Counter to the rescue!  I wash with the Exfoliator 3 times a week at night and use the Nourishing Cleaning Balm as a cleanser most nights, and 1-2 times a week I will put it on a clean face and leave it overnight as a moisture mask.  When I wake up, I have plump, dewy skin and no breakouts!  I've also been using their make-up for the past 3 months and their tint skin + concealer combo has me looking fresh faced and awake (even when I'm so sleepy!).  A life savor for 1st trimester.... and for my life in general.

Leggings + Comfy PJ's.  I was exhausted, like most, during my 1st trimester.  Like couldn't hold my eyes open after noon.  I napped most days and just listened to my body as best as I knew how.  So these PJ's and these leggings were basically my uniform for about 8 weeks.  Ok fine, they still are!  Get yo self some comfy PJ's mamas or non-mamas.  They are worth it!!  And these cute Target ones are on sale!

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Jess from Float On: Living on Purpose

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

And now for our second, adorable, sweet guest blogger!  Meet Jess, from Float On.  Jess is a new mama, wife, blogger and just one of the sweetest friends I have met through this blogland.  Can't wait for you to read her post and I know you'll love her just as much as I do!


Hey, Gratefully Inspired readers! I’m Jess and I blog over at Float On!

I was really excited when Denise asked me to come up with a post about how I’m living on purpose. It’s such a great topic for the new year and something I’ve really been working on since becoming a mama 7 months ago. Now that I have a little one to take care of, on top of everything else that I do, it’s more important more than ever that I live my life intentionally. It’s something that I hope I can instill in my son through my actions. Plus, my one goal for the new year is to be the best version of me that I can, so I really have to step up my game.

Being present in the moment, is really helping me to live my life with more intent. I’m a working from home mama, so not only do I have to take care of the baby and the house, I also have to get work done during the day. It’s a crazy juggling act that I am just now starting to get more of a handle on (kinda). I do my best to make sure that I am focus on each area of my life and give it my all. So, when I’m with baby, I focus on just being with him. No computers. No work. No distractions. I want him to know he has my full attention and it’s really helping me to relish my time with him. Of course, he is my little helper for housework. He loves vacuuming in the Ergo!

On the flip side, when he naps, I focus solely on work. It’s way easier to get work done quickly and efficiently, when I’m not also watching the baby and trying to do laundry. Yeah multi-tasking is great, but I think sometimes its best to focus your all on one area at a time. So far, this situation is working well for me. I’m hoping once the little man is sleeping a bit better I can have a bit more “me” time.

Another area I’m really striving to become more purposefully about is my family’s health and wellness. We’ve always done our best to eat well (organic and wholesome), exercise, and use natural products; but I really want to do more. I’m intentional looking for more natural solutions in all aspects of our lives. We are getting ready to try out essential oils, which I’m really excited about. I’m all about making my own green cleaners. And I look forward to adding lots of great supplements to our diet. Got anymore ideas- throw them at me!

Honestly, despite the lack of me time and sleep, having a baby has really changed me for the better. So cliché, but motherhood is the best thing to happened to me. Not only does my life have a new purpose, but I really am living life with more intent, which is how it should be!

Find Jess Here:

Brittany from Life of Charmings: Living on Purpose

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ok y'all!  I am so very excited about our first guest post in the Living on Purpose Series!  Today you get the privilege of hearing from Brittany, of Life of Charmings.  Brittany transformed from blog friend turned real life friend last May when we had our first official blate.  We became bloggy friends long before that and share so much!  Our baby girls have the SAME birthday only her darling M was born in 2012 and sweet little G was a 2013 baby.  And and!  We are both preggy with our second bundle and due about a week apart!  So fun, I know!  She's also a health and wellness guru (in my books at least!) and has introduced me to all sorts of fun things, like silver!  Who knew you could use that stuff to make you feel better.  I digress... that's realllllllly not the point of this series so without further ado, I'll let Brittany take over....


hi friends of the loveliest denise!! my name is brittany, and i have a little blog called life of charmings where i love to document bits of my life... which, much like denise, now mostly revolves around being the mom to a little princess lady, with one more baby on the way this summer!! with my wonderful and supportive husband around, too, of course. ;) so, i'm definitely learning a whole lot in my "adult life" here! ha, but i mean, am i really supposed to be an adult already?!! oh my! i suppose i am!!

so, one thing that i'm learning these days, for sure, is that the older i get and the more i take on in life, the more important it becomes to live every day with purpose and intention. and i won't lie, i'm not that great at it!! but... baby steps, right! my little girl is growing, my unborn is growing, my marriage is still growing, and so am i! and my favorite way to learn and grow is to start with the little things. i really cherish the little things in life. it's totally my nature. so in that respect, i'm learning to take the smallest moments in my days and make something of them. i definitely know now that you have to keep your foundation strong in order to be strong for those around you, so, here are a few ways i'm trying to do just that...

-browsing my iphone as i fall asleep at night? that's the perfect chance for me to get my fill of bible verses and end my day in prayer! i'm a terrible [iiii mean terrible!] morning person, so just like how many people say they love to start the day with their devotional time, i find that i love to end the day on a good note like that! i just have to make a point to do it, before i default to pinterest browsing. but hey! there are some great and beautifully illustrated verses on pinterest, right! ;)

-feeling like i'm in a rut? that's when i make an absolute point to spruce myself up a bit. step awaaaay from the obligations, put on my makeup, and maybe paint my nails! i also love having a bottle of neutrogena micromist spray tan on hand to keep my glow going through the winter. [just try not to inhale it!] and also, thank goodness for a good concealer. if there's one thing that i find totally depressing, it's when your reflection is pasty with purple under-eye circles! nooo thanks!

-not a lot of breaks in my day? this is such a tough one for me! as a stay at home mom, i feel like there's so much that's up to me to figure out in my day from the time i wake up to the time i collapse on the bed [most often my toddler's bed, because honestly, i pass. out. these days!], but at the same time, it's all just working around my little one, too! so, as time goes on, it's always a new challenge to restructure our days and find new balances between getting things done, quality play time, getting out of the house, and just taking moments here and there to stop and put my feet up for thirty minutes. i mean, since i'm currently pregnant and entertaining a toddler [ahem, i'm sure you can relate, denise!!], sometimes i really just have to encourage some major independent play, or throw a couple shows up on the tv so i can just give myself a break! because in my head, i should keep going, going, going, but... let me tell you, the body often says otherwise!

-wondering where my value comes from? wellll, living in a society that encourages us all to find our importance in the world, in titles, in recognition, i often have a really hard time with this! i mean, i believe in my heart of hearts that i am doing exactly what God wants me to be doing as i spend my days preparing a tiny little member of this next generation for the big world around her... but heavens to betsy, wouldn't it be just DANDY if maybe for one day, the ole "office" was abuzz with the news of my big promotion?! if my growing paycheck reflected all the hard work i've been doing right there in numbers, in writing?! maybe the boss walks up and says, "brittany, you did a real bang-up job on the richardson file!! you're getting your bonus early this year!" haha. okay, so, truthfully, i would absolutely perish if i tried to make it in the corporate world, so i think my business fantasies are more of a metaphor or something. but all this to say... no matter what role you take on in life, your importance, worth, recognition, value... it should come from above! the Lord sees my intentions, accomplishments, failures, hopes, and dreams, and at the end of the day, that is such a comfort!

so, anyway!! for me, living on purpose is in the little things each day. the tiny adjustments when i think i might be heading off course. the small moments that i can make something more of! and time out, let's not forget to throw in some good doses of fresh flowers, hot cups of coffee, and sunny afternoon drives, a million breaths of outdoor fresh air, and really, life is good. :) thank you so so much for having me, sweet denise! i love your heart of gold!!

Find Brittany Here:

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